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Where to shop in Bangkok - where to go and what to buy

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As a pastime whose popularity is eclipsed only by Bangkok’s nightlife, the Thai capital is loaded up with shopping malls, department stores, street markets, and their unique floating markets. Bangkok is rich in items from both ends of the shopping spectrum; from antiques and monastic ornaments to jewelry and high-end designer clothing. Shopping and trade has been a fundamental part of Thai life for many years, so a shopping trip here is not just a form of retail therapy but also an insight into Thai tradition.

Andy Flynn

My Destination local expert on

Bangkok

Siam Square

 

Siam Square, right in the center of Bangkok, is considered the best place for high-end shopping. This buzzing area is surrounded by swanky shopping malls interlinked via a series of walkways. MBK Center and Siam Center are the most popular malls as they price their fashion items way below Western standards. Siam Paragon is a slightly less popular shopping mall, but only because locals cannot afford the kind of designer accessories on sale here from brands such as Louis Vuitton and Gucci.

 

Phahonyothin

 

Chatuchak Weekend Market is the largest market in South East Asia with around 8 000 stalls, and it is right here in Phahonyothin, which is just north of central Bangkok. Their colorful selection is vast and covers the needs of every kind of shopper, whether they are looking for clothes, sweet-smelling exotic fruit, or potted plants. Such is the vivacity of this market that browsers can enjoy themselves just as much as shoppers in this hubbub of a throng that congregates here.

 

Pratunam

 

Pratunam is a shopping district just south of Phahonyothin and is full of fashion stores. It’s widely considered that Pratunam is the best week-day alternative to Chatuchak Market as many of the stalls set up in the latter are found in Pratunam’s own Platinum Fashion Mall. Clothes, shoes, handbags, accessories, and make up are all sold at Platinum Fashion Mall, which has the added bonus of being air-conditioned – a useful way of combatting Bangkok’s heat. Pratunam center shifts the focus away from fashion and sells handicrafts from around Thailand as well as silverwares and general decorations for the house.

 

Floating Markets

 

Just a few kilometers north-west of central Bangkok is Taling Chan Village, which is a traditional Thai village in a corner of secluded countryside. Taling Chan Floating Market is one of the most authentic markets and is still largely undiscovered by tourists. The best time to visit is in the early morning, when the temperature is cool and the market is generally at its most lively. Damnoen Saduak is further out – about an hour drive from central Bangkok – but is definitely worth the trip. This picture-friendly market represents the most popular floating market in all of Thailand and offers a unique insight into a bygone way of Thai life.

 

 

Silom

 

If it’s antiques you are looking for then Silom is the best place to go to. Just south of central Bangkok, Silom is Thailand’s equivalent to Wall Street and is recognisable by its skyscrapers bearing the names of various financial institutions. The area has the highest concentration of luxury hotels in the city, which attracts the most potential buyers and therefore, makes Silom the home of some expensive and exclusive antiques.

 

 

Bangkok shopping tips

 

Bangkok is hot throughout the year so try to wear cool clothes and do most of your shopping in the morning if possible. Don’t be afraid to negotiate prices at any store – even those with fixed prices – and always compare prices between stalls. Check the quality of whatever you are considering to purchase.